Eat Me

A natural and unnatural history of cannibalism

Bill Schutt

Book cover of Eat Me by Bill Schutt

Gripping and often disturbing... Schutt [has] a rare gift for making biology dramatic. His accounts of family life among invertebrates are hair-raising.

John Carey, Sunday Times

At last, something to really get your teeth into: an entertaining, informative and gruesome look at the world’s greatest taboo.

Cannibalism is the last taboo: the stuff of urban legends and ancient myths, airline crashes and Captain Cook. But while we might get a thrill at the thought of the black widow spider’s gruesome mating habits or the tragic fate of the 19th-century Donner Party pioneers, today cannibalism belongs to history – or at the very least, the realm of the weird, the rare and the very far away. Doesn’t it?

Zoologist Bill Schutt digs his teeth into the subject to find an answer that is as surprising as it is unsettling. From the plot of ‘Psycho’ to the ritual of the Eucharist, cannibalism is woven into our history, our culture – even our medicine. And in the natural world, eating your own kind is everything from a survival strategy – practised by polar bears and hamsters alike – to an evolutionary adaption such as that found in sand tiger sharks who, by the time they are born, will have eaten all but one of their siblings in the womb.

Dark, fascinating and endlessly curious, 'Eat Me' delves into human and animal cannibalism to find a story of colonialism, religion, anthropology, dinosaurs, ancient humans and modern consequences: from the terrible ‘laughing death’ disease kuru to the BSE crisis. And, of course, our intrepid author tries it out for himself.

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About the author

Photograph of Bill Schutt

Bill Schutt

Bill Schutt is a zoologist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York where he “studies weird animals for a living – vampire bats, leeches, ticks and their ilk" and a Professor of Biology at Long Island University. His previous book, 'Dark Banquet: Blood and the Curious Lives of Blood-Feeding Creatures', was named Best Book of 2008 by the 'Library Journal' and Amazon.